Black Locust Tree History and Uses
Black locust trees, Robinia pseudoacacia or false Acacia, are abundant in our Sierra Foothills. The trees were probably brought here by the Europeans in the mining days. On my recent trip to Southern California, I discovered them in my old stomping grounds in Topanga!
They are a fast growing hardwood. They were traditionally used for bow making. They have a short showy bloom phase in late spring for about two weeks.
Their legume-like vanilla-scented blossoms are edible! They taste like sweet pea flowers, nutty with a sweet hint of the nectar inside.
You can snack on them like popcorn, or sprinkle them as a garnish on top of a light bowl of cattail soup (see Living Wild book for recipe).
Black Locust Blossom Vermouth Recipe
I love to make beverages of all sorts. (Come to my QUENCH class in June for more sipping zippy delights!)
My latest concoction is a black locust blossom vermouth. It lends a sweet floral pea flavor to the mild lemony taste of dry vermouth. It is a warm spring or summer sipping, low-alcohol beverage.
It is super easy to make this vermouth. You will need the following:
- Bottles, 12-16 oz
- Dry vermouth, or even sake
- Lots of locust blossoms
It is nice to use clear bottles so you can see the blossoms soaking. I like to use old GT Kombucha bottles, labels removed.
- Simply gather your blossoms and pluck them off of their stems.
- Stuff a bottle until it is nearly full of blossoms. Then pour vermouth to the top.
- Label your bottle and let sit for 3-6 weeks.
- Strain, saving some of the blossoms to garnish.
The drink is lovely over a bit of ice. Locust Blossom vermouth is a delightful way to preserve the tastes of spring to share with friends.